There are at least two immediate concerns that Barangay Ermita residents need Cebu City Hall to address in the wake of the recent suspension of its barangay officials: one, that there is continuity of social services to them, and two, that peace and order will be maintained in their area.
Other than that, it’s all background political noise which the residents don’t need at this time nor at any other in the future. Supporters of suspended Barangay Ermita Chairman Felicisimo Rupinta would only waste their time and money trying to block whoever is appointed as caretaker of their barangay for six months, even if it happened to be SPO1 Adonis Dumpit.
Dumpit’s appointment was questioned by the police since there is no clear-cut provision allowing police officers to assume a civilian elected post. If by being caretaker means keeping the peace, then Dumpit may qualify as a barangay police or tanod, said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Police Regional Office chief.
Which is just fine for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, going by his pronouncements that he only wanted to keep out and stamp out the drug menace in Barangay Ermita.
All the other functions of a barangay chairman like signing vouchers and clearances will be assumed by the mayor, vice mayor or their designated point persons.
We understand the police’s concerns on Dumpit because, by definition, a caretaker will assume on a temporary capacity, in this case six months, the functions of a barangay chairman.
But Osmeña made it clear at least publicly that Dumpit will only handle peacekeeping, with Councilor Dave Tumulak assuming other functions and the paperwork to be done at City Hall.
Even if the police were relegated to a supporting role in the campaign against illegal drugs, the mayor can always point out that Dumpit can better coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) than Rupinta’s people.
Some of that paperwork include the signing of the salaries of the barangay employees who hope that the suspension of Rupinta and seven other barangay officials won’t delay the release of their wages.
There’s a delineation of roles outlined, and until President Rodrigo Duterte or Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sign the papers for the acting caretakers, the mayor’s decisions will have to be honored by both the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the police.
Still, the authorities will have to do more to assure the residents including Rupinta’s followers that the setup is temporary. That includes refuting the allegations raised by Rupinta’s followers that the police will plant drugs or other evidence that can be used against Rupinta and the other suspended officials.
In the meantime, it is hoped that City Hall will do better in serving their constituents in Barangay Ermita and keep the peace.
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